Dangling from a wire above a rock pillar in near cyclonic winds, it’s not only courage you need.
“You’ve got no control, not one bit,” Westpac Rescue’s Andy Summers says.
“You’re just hanging on the wire and you’ve got nothing — your life’s in their hands.”
Mr Summers is an intensive care flight paramedic, one of the crewmen winched to hundreds of injured bushwalkers and accident victims around the state each year.
Like the French tourist who became stranded on a 30-metre pillar at Bruny Island’s Fluted Cape in January.
In a delicate operation, a harness, rope and helmet were ferried to the climber before a 15-minute briefing on board the chopper meticulously planned the next move.
“That was challenging,” Mr Summers says.
“They had to get me down on to something that was less than one-by-one metre, and it was just perfect.”
Trust again, as the 33-year-old put himself in the hands of the pilot and crew.
“If it’s really windy, their legs are going everywhere and their hands are just so busy,” he says.
“The helicopter is so still because they’re working so hard.
“I haven’t needed to have that significant amount of trust in anyone before.”
The successful rescue was one of 181 completed to the end of January this financial year.
Medical transfers take place year round but use of the service’s two choppers is on the increase as Tasmania’s walking tourism booms.
A small, tight-knit group of police and paramedics is at the ready should the call come.
They work two 10-hour days and two 14-hour nights each week.
It can be dangerous work, as a recent shoulder injury to Mr Summers illustrates.
Originally Published by The Mercury, continue reading here.
Tags: search and rescue, Westpac Rescue Paramedics